Twenty – First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Romans 11: 33-36
“Who do you say that I am?” I could stop right now with my homily and make this your homework assignment to ask a loved one, “Who do you say that I am?” I said I could stop but I will not because Jesus has so much to teach us today. We normally get the answer to that question when someone has had enough of us, and that let us know what they think in a negative way. It is a big question, and the answer to this question asked in the right context can bring a life giving response. This morning, I decided to tell a good friend what they meant to me, so I rattled off a few things that I admire about this person. When I was done, then I asked, “So, what do you think of me?” There was this long pause, and then he said, “You better tell me what you really want, or I am taking you to the home!” My friends, we all need to answer in ourselves, “Who is Jesus to us, and what does he mean to us?”
In our Gospel, Jesus takes his disciples to a far away place where they can be quiet and reflect for a bit. Jesus is setting them up for greatness. Jesus asks, “Who do the people say that the Son of Man is?” What I find interesting about this question is Jesus gives them the answer to the question. Of course, the disciples say, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” The disciples say only dead people, holy dead people, but no one who is alive. Jesus hears the answers, but he wants more so he asks, “But who do you say that I am?” Noticed he does not end the question telling them who he is! Peter the one who just got done calling out to Jesus, “Lord, save me, because I am sinking” says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus responds, “Blessed are you, Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church and give you the keys to the kingdom of God.”
We need to answer the question: You who are married, who is Jesus to you in your marriage? Is the spark still alive? All you who are returning to school, who is Jesus to you? Will you be who God wants you to be, or will you be what others what you to be? You who are frightened or afraid, who is Jesus Christ to you? Will you allow Jesus to calm all your fears? How will we respond to Jesus this question if we have really messed up and are in need of God’s forgiveness?
How we answer the question has as much to say about our understanding of Jesus as it does about how we understand ourselves. It describes our expectations, our motivation, and our depth of faith. The other challenge is we do not just answer the question once, and we are done with it. The question is a living breathing question that we must answer every day.
We come to the Eucharist, to answer Jesus when he asks us the question, “Who do you say I am?” we answer the question now so that it will make a difference the other 167 hours of our week. May we be strengthened in his body and his blood to help us on our journey to grow closer to him and our true vocation?